Volunteer Notes, Winter 2015

Three_line_color_gif.gif February 3, 2015 facebook500.png  twitter2.png  yt_home.png?r=1407251763518
Volunteer Notes Winter Issue 2015
Mission - The Volunteer Council in partnership with the League of American Orchestras strives to lead, advocate, encourage, support, and serve our member orchestras and their volunteers.
In this issue:

Notes from Margarita Contreni, Volunteer Council President
If you thought the tempo in 2014 was molto allegro, 2015 may well be prestissimo!
margaritacontreni(1).pngThe Volunteer Council is moving forward quickly with plans for volunteers for the 2015 National Conference in Cleveland on May 27-29. You will enjoy reading the announcement of the Gold Book Award-winning volunteer projects as well as the additional information on Conference in the articles below. On-line registration for Conference is officially open as of last week, and can be accessed through the League of American Orchestras’ Conference website . We look forward to seeing you in Cleveland!
The Council also is participating in the League’s strategic planning process. Launched this past October by the League’s Board of Directors, the process includes the following goals:
  • Address our field’s issues head-on and lead orchestras through continuous learning and change;
  • Understand orchestras better, the context in which they operate, and both the threats and opportunities they have; and
  • Determine strategies that will help the League guide the field to a sustainable future.
We will meet with Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras, on February 23rd in New York City.  Volunteers have deep and broad connections within our communities, and we look forward to sharing our volunteer perspective on these critical topics. 
We learned a lot about specific challenges and creative solutions from volunteers who participated in our Strategic Conversation conference calls held this past fall, and I would like to personally thank the 13 volunteer presidents and presidents-elect who participated:
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild – George Keck
  • Atlanta Symphony Associates – Glee Lamb
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra Volunteer Council – Deborah Savoie
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Volunteer Committee – Harry Lane
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates – Sheri Gill
  • Nashville Symphony Orchestra League – Keith McLusky and Donna Yurdin
  • Oklahoma City Orchestra League – Deanna Pendleton
  • Seattle Symphony Volunteer Board – Richard Mori and Carmen Spofford
  • Symphony Guild of Charlotte – Mary Staton
  • Williamsburg Symphonia League – Cynthia Southworth
  • Women’s Symphony League of Tyler – Linda Rowe
A special thanks as well goes to my Volunteer Council colleagues who co-hosted the Conversations, Linda Weisbruch and Camille Williams, and our ardent supporter at the League, Samara Ungar!
All best wishes to each of you for a new year filled with joy and adventure!

League of American Orchestras National Conference, May 27-29, 2015
Leaders of orchestra volunteer organizations in the United States and Canada are invited to come to Cleveland May 27 – 29, 2015, for the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference. Hundreds of music lovers, makers, performers, trustees, volunteers, and members of the orchestra community will converge on this beautiful city by the shores of Lake Erie to learn and experience current challenges, latest practices, and more in the orchestra world.
A uniquely crafted volunteer track, planned by the League's Volunteer Council, will offer opportunities to share best-practices for fundraising, membership, music education, service, and community engagement projects among volunteer organizations of all sizes. Learn about the best of the best projects, presented by Gold Book Awards of Excellence recipients. Network with fellow volunteers every step of the way - in meetings, during lunches, around dinner tables, or sipping a cocktail.
Online registration and hotel reservations are now open. The Conference will be held at the newly renovated Cleveland Convention Center, with The Westin Cleveland Downtown and the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center serving as the Conference hotels.
While in Cleveland, hear the acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra at the beautiful Severance Hall, visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, stop by the Happy Dog Tavern where members of The Cleveland Orchestra have been known to perform late night sets, and see a collection of great artistic institutions at University Circle. The parks will be blossoming, the museums filled with art, and the neighborhoods welcoming visitors with open arms.
In performances at home and around the globe, The Cleveland Orchestra remains one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world, and Northeast Ohio's most visible international ambassador.
Each year the League of American Orchestras’ Conference offers the opportunity to share innovative ideas, make friendships from around the country, and learn about project structures - all for the love of music. This May, join us in Cleveland for what promises to be another great Conference!
For more information, visit the 2015 Conference website.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! 
Uniteed Airlines is pleased to offier special discounts on flights to Cleveland for the League of American Orchestras' National Conference.
You may book online at www.united.com and enter code ZUGE410936 in the offer code box when searching for your flights.
If booking through a travel professional or United Meetings at 800 426 1122, please give them the following information:
Agreement Code: 410936
Z Code: ZUGE
Outside the United States, please call your local United Airlines Reservation Office.

2015 Gold Book Awards of Excellence Winners: Great Ideas for Your Volunteer Association
Innovation, volunteer involvement, return on investment, and impact are the primary criteria the Volunteer Council utilizes to evaluate volunteer projects submitted each year to the League’s volunteer project website, goldbookonline.org. Eleven projects will be recognized as winners of the Gold Book Awards of Excellence and presented at Conference in May 2015. 

The 2015 winning organizations and their projects are:
  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal (IL): Girl Scout Workshop: Would you like to build audience for your orchestra, enrich a Girl Scout’s musical experience, and contribute to your community? This workshop will prepare you to conduct an engaging and fun Girl Scout Musician Badge workshop.
  • Houston Symphony League (TX): Houston Symphony Centennial Ball: A fundraiser that served as the culmination of a yearlong celebration of the Symphony’s 100th anniversary.
  • Symphony Guild of Kansas City (MO): Intermezzo Candlelight Tour: Majestic. Musical. Memorable. A holiday symphony for the senses. A candlelight tour of a one-of-a-kind home, including cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and musical entertainment.
  • Mid–Peninsula League of the San Francisco Symphony (CA): Symphony in Flowers: The MPL brings the garden inside. Learn how they nurtured and “grew” this event which originally supported one classroom of students attending the San Francisco Symphony to more than 350 students attending.
  • Women’s Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra (DC): Sound Health Instrument Petting Zoo: It is believed that the power of music helps in the healing process of the ill, injured, and wounded. The hospitals have requested this program as often as possible.
  • Forte, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (WI): The Emerald City Soiree: There’s no place like home! Hear how the iconic film “The Wizard of Oz” with live orchestral accompaniment made for one sparkling gala. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!
  • Oklahoma City Orchestra League (OK):  SkyBall Wine Pull: “It takes money to make money” – not this time! Add this unique fundraising element to your next big event. It’s full of glamour and surprises!
  • Waco Symphony Council (TX): Celebrate Waco’s Sharp Flat Loft Tours: If you want to attract a bigger audience sometimes you need to go where that audience is!  We transformed our fundraising efforts to showcase our symphony and raised money by celebrating our downtown’s resurgence!
  • Symphony Guild of Charlotte (NC): Guild 101: How do you educate new members?  Learn about a planned training program that focused on four goals and found the right mix of fun, friendship, and learning.
  • Symphony League of Kansas City (MO): “Concerto a Venezia” Symphony Ball: Having a ball? Fearless strategies to increase fundraising and new fans.
  • Women’s Symphony League of Austin (TX): Austin Symphony Youth Leadership Council: A new fundraising idea that parents find irresistible! Tap into a hot topic for teens and raise money too!
You won’t want to miss learning about these award-winning projects. Join us at Conference and take home great ideas to share with your volunteer association! 

 Orchestras' Impact Profiled in League's New Story Bank 
How do orchestras serve their communities? As orchestra volunteers, we believe that they do, but often struggle to put into words that service. The League’s new online Story Bank is a public resource showcasing first-person perspectives on the powerful impact of orchestras. Health care providers, parents, musicians, orchestra administrators, and students are all spotlighted in a regularly updated array of videos, articles, and infographics, all showing the many ways in which orchestras serve communities.
 What’s on the Story Bank right now?
  • A healthcare administrator discusses how Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians help patients with dementia.
  • Parents describe how Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema Lehigh Valley program directly affected their kids’ behavior and grades.
  • A music therapist talks about how a teen cancer patient was motivated by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians.
  • Students describe how the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory’s Community Opus has improved their lives.
  • Seattle Symphony musicians, Native artists, and Seattle-based composer Janice Giteck provide an in-depth look at Seattle Symphony’s collaborative Native Lands Community Composition project and the Potlatch Symphony.
The Story Bank is a wonderful resource for learning more about orchestras’ innovative education and community engagement work, a touch point to help us reflect on the work our own organizations are doing, as well as the perfect place to point donors, press, and the public.

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal
The Girl Scout Workshop and Introducing Guild Volunteer Elaine Cousins
One of the Gold Book Awards of Excellence projects to be presented at the 2015 League of American Orchestras Conference in Cleveland, May 27-29, is the Girl Scout Workshop. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal partnered with the Girl Scouts to enable the Scouts to fulfill their requirements for the "musician" badge in a 70-minute interactive, pre-concert, educational workshop and by attending a follow up Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concert.  Workshop activities included:
  • Instrument petting zoo of the instrument families
  • Music around the world in anthems
  • Making instruments, performing, and conducting
  • Fun music websites
  • Preview of music to be performed
  • Concert etiquette
The presentation in Cleveland will stress how to conduct this workshop in volunteer associations' own areas, using the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild's partnership as an example.
The Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal has made its mark with educational programming due in large part to volunteer and past president Elaine Cousins. Previously, she helped design and conduct orientation programs for high school exchange students through Youth for Understanding. After retiring from the University of Michigan where she developed training programs and managed its non-credit computer training program for faculty, staff and students, Elaine taught music appreciation at the local community college in Normal, Illinois.

Elaine's skills and talents were noticed by a member of the League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council when her Guild presented their award winning gala event, "Symphony Celebrities," at the 2009 League of American Orchestras’ Conference in Chicago. Consequently she was asked to join the VolunteerElaineCousins31.jpg Council where she has so capably served as Program Chair, Webinar Co-chair (Leadership, Strategic Planning, Fundraising, and soon to be released Social Media), and the 2013-2014 Volunteer Notes editor, among other responsibilities. Conference attendees will no doubt remember Fundraising Fundamentals "Making an Ask", the Toybox Leadership session, and the Good Governance Board Game, designed with fellow Volunteer Council member, Linda Weisbruch.  Elaine's six-year term on the Volunteer Council will end this year but her many contributions will not be forgotten.
Elaine states, "I get ideas from what I think people need or what has been suggested and then I try to make the session one where people learn actively. I think people learn best when they can actually 'do' something and especially when they can apply and practice a new idea or skill right away." Elaine promises that the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild's Girl Scout Workshop will keep people learning actively. Plan to attend the Conference in Cleveland and see for yourself!

Touch Base Calls
In addition to being an invaluable resource of information for orchestra volunteers nationwide, the Volunteer Council offers many programs and services including its Touch-Base Calls, where Volunteer Council members connect with volunteer organization leaders through phone calls or emails to discuss highlights and concerns, in addition to promoting the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference.
Please respond if you are contacted! The Volunteer Council wants to hear from you (and this will not be a solicitation call).